Oscars 2018

What did Oscar winner Frances McDormand mean by ‘inclusion rider’? Meet the woman behind the phrase

Frances McDormand concluded her speech after being named best actress at the 90th Academy Awards with these two words.

While accepting the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri on Sunday, Frances McDormand asked all female nominees across categories to stand up in solidarity with women in the industry. As the audience teared up, she concluded her speech with a phrase that left many befuddled. “I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen,” McDormand said. “Inclusion rider.”

After viewers frantically searched for the meaning of the phrase, it was learnt that an inclusion rider is a clause that actors can insist upon in their contract to demand race, gender, sexuality and other diversity in the production, both on screen and among the crew. The term was first introduced by Stacy Smith, a professor and founder of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California, at a TED Talk in 2016.

“Across the top 100 films of just last year, 48 films didn’t feature one black or African-American speaking character, not one,” Smith said in the talk. “Seventy films were devoid of Asian or Asian-American speaking characters that were girls or women. None. Eighty-four films didn’t feature one female character that had a disability. And 93 were devoid of lesbian, bisexual or transgender female speaking characters. This is not underrepresentation. This is erasure, and I call this the epidemic of invisibility.”

As a solution to this gross underrepresentation, Smith introduced the term inclusion rider: “An equity rider [or an inclusion rider] by an A-lister in their contract can stipulate that those roles reflect the world in which we actually live.”

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Stacey Smith at the TEDWoman Talk (2016).

Speaking to The Guardian, Smith expressed her joy over McDormand’s speech about the clause. “I’m utterly elated,” she told the newspaper. “The real goal is to counter bias in the auditioning and casting process...The goal is that talent can take the inclusion rider and adopt it in ways that make sense for their values and their beliefs.”

McDormand reportedly told the media backstage that she had learnt of the phrase just a week ago. “There has always been available, to everybody that does a negotiation on a film, an inclusion rider, which means that you can ask for and/or demand at least 50 percent diversity in not only the casting but also the crew. The fact that I’ve just learned that after 35 years of being in the film business...we’re not going back.”

Support for McDormand’s rallying call poured in on social media, including from the Twitter handle inspired by her words.

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Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.

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Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.